Stories about Junaid Jamshed

“If you want to teach here, you have to wear a burqa”

“You just have to wear a burqa inside the school; you are free to take it off when you leave the school premises,”said the principal of a Karachi-based school while interviewing a candidate. “It’s just a garment,” thought the candidate, and a garment that was helping her get a higher salary than all the other schools. So she signed the teaching contract and took the burqa home with her. All day at home, that burqa in her bag haunted her. How could she don something all day that represented something she hadn’t fully accepted in her heart? Wasn’t she lying to impressionable children? Wasn’t it hypocritical of her ...

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A woman does not need a man’s protection

“Nobody is a monster that he is excluded from society. After all, any society that has these rapists has to take responsibility for them, and this is the first thing that these feminist callers that came before the Verma Committee said, that these are our people, these men are ours.”— Gopal Subramanium, senior advocate, Supreme Court India and co-author of the Verma Report I am not a rapist. I cannot even possibly conceive how a person could rape, assault, murder or even harass. So why did I feel guilty being a man watching the documentary India’s Daughter? This question has plagued my thoughts for ...

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The excruciating experience of watching Pakistan bowl

As I write this, Pakistan has just conceded 369 runs against the New Zealand batting side. Maybe this would not be so hard to take if I had not grown up watching legends like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar. The current state of our fast-bowling makes the heart grow even fonder of Mohammad Sami. Let that sink in, Mohammad Sami. A man who once bowled the longest over in ODI with 17 balls, including seven wides and four no-balls. I will even go to the extent of saying Ataur Rehman was a better bowler than ...

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Playing god in the land of the pure

People everywhere look for answers in stark black and white, and love the comfort that gives them the ability to use it as a club against others. For some reason, people keep recreating the very issues in their religions that the founders of those religions sought to eradicate. True spirituality should bring complete humbleness and love. What is common to all of us is how we struggle for an authentic faith without taking refuge in the absolute; that, to my mind, is the classic source of apostasy. There is nothing I ever read about Islam that didn’t pertain equally to other religions’ ...

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If Ghalib was alive in 2014…

We curse him while trying to cram verses from Deewan-e-Ghalib into our heads for our Urdu literature exams. We study him because we have been told to but if – by some miraculous, unfortunate realignment of the stars – Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan, or Ghalib, was alive in 2014 rather than the 19th century, I am sure he would have been found hiding under the deck of a boat trying to escape to Australia. The first charge levied against him would have been of being an Indian agent; he was born in Agra after all. Anchors would appear on television with proof of ...

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I stand with Junaid Jamshed

The year was 1990. Junaid Jamshed was at the height of his career when a petition was filed in the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan that the punishment for blasphemy under Section 295-C of Pakistan Penal Code is not appropriate under the light of Quran and Sunnah. Until then, the punishment could include life imprisonment, fine or death. The petition suggested that only the death penalty could be the right punishment for a blasphemer. It was a tumultuous time in the Pakistani political landscape.  The year saw a change of three Prime Ministers- the ousted PM Benazir Bhutto, the caretaker ...

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An open letter to Junaid Jamshed

Dear JJ Sahib, First of all, condolences for the recent situation you find yourself in. It is most unfortunate that our first correspondence be in times that are possibly troubling for you. With the formalities out of the way, I have a confession to make – I really could not care less about your situation. Why then am I writing you a letter? Like others from my generation, I grew up listening to your songs. I met you 15 years ago, backstage after a concert. I was a star-crazed teenager and you were, well, a star. You gave me a hug and laughed ...

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‘Naya Pakistan’ needs to answer some fundamental questions

With Imran Khan turning many doubters into believers by the virtue of his unwavering, unfaltering and untiring show in Islamabad, I have no hesitation in admitting that his performance on the political ground is as bold as it used to be on the cricketing ground. His supporters have shown commendable commitment, as the sit-in at D-Chowk has crossed a golden jubilee mark thanks to street power in other cities – especially Karachi. As I listen to his speeches, quite frankly, I love the idea of Naya Pakistan more and more each day, but what really confuses me is the model he is portraying and ...

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9 things I hate about Naya Pakistan

I cannot pinpoint any single incident that sparked off this piece of satire but one of the many triggers for me was the ludicrous vanity that has been displayed in full swing over the past one month. At first, I was very optimistic about this so-called Naya Pakistan. But the kind of polarisation it has created in an already fragmented society is beyond disappointment. Now I fully understand what Aristotle meant when he said, “Youth is easily deceived, because it is quick to hope”. So here are the nine things that I hate about Naya Pakistan and those who blindly follow this idea. Inability to take ...

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Vital Signs 1: Bringing vitality to Pakistani music since 1987

The generation that grew up listening to Atif has always associated Salman Ahmad with Junoon, completely oblivious to the fact that he was a part of Vital Signs first and had it not been for a bust up with Rohail Hyatt, Junoon might never have come into existence. As pseudo-underground bands cover redundant black and death metal covers in the name of underground music, what most of these bands, and even a large chunk of our biggest musicians remain unaware of is the fact this year marks the 25th anniversary of one of the greatest pop albums released by a ...

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